What To Expect

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What to Expect When Getting Started with Speech or Occupational Therapy

Being a parent is one of the most important jobs in the world. We understand that when you first learn your child needs help with their development, you will have many questions. We know that families find it helpful to be informed about what will happen when your child starts working with a speech pathologist or occupational therapist.

#1 - Making Contact With Us

When you first make contact with us either via email, phone or social media, our administration manager will:

  • Listen to the concerns that you have about your child’s development and ask questions to find out about the services that may be most helpful for your child.
  • Determine the most suitable therapist for your child based on your location and your child’s needs,

We’ll then email an information pack out to you, along with some forms to complete and return by email. If your therapist feels that they require additional details from you before your child’s first session, they may call you for a quick chat so that they can arrive at the session, prepared and informed.

#2 - Assessment

During your first session, you’ll meet your child’s therapist, who will aim to get to know you and begin developing a strong rapport with your child. They will usually start an assessment with your child during this session. The purpose of an assessment is to gain a comprehensive picture of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, to gather information that will help you and the therapist set goals for your child to work towards, and to record details about how your child is going at that time – this is important as it will help your therapist to know how your child is progressing after a period of therapy.

Assessments vary depending on your child’s age and your areas of concern, but may include:

  • Conversations with you to learn more about your child and your concerns in detail. Sometimes, we need to spend the majority of the first session talking to you in order to gather the information we need to start helping your child. This is particularly true of children who have difficulties with toileting, sleeping, feeding and early communication skills.
  • Informal, play-based assessment tasks. These activities can look like play and games, however the therapist will have designed these carefully, so that they can observe your child using a specific skill or ability.
  • Formal/standardised assessments. These types of assessments are more structured and often require your child to perform a set series of tasks. Standardised assessments are used in order to help us make a correct diagnosis and to determine how well your child is performing in comparison with other children their age. Your therapist will be able to tell you your child’s result after completing a formal assessment, and what this means.

Sometimes the assessment can be completed within one session, though the therapist may require an additional one or two sessions to complete the assessment. We can talk to you more about how long your child’s assessment might take when you first make contact with us.

#3 - Feedback and Goal Setting

Following the assessment, your child’s therapist will discuss the assessment findings and what these mean for your child. We always endeavour to make sure that you feel comfortable asking questions about the assessment.

Next, your therapist will discuss goals for your child to work towards. We’ll listen to your long term goals and aspirations for your child and help you to break these down into small, achievable goals. Then we’ll map out a therapy plan for the next 3-6 months. This includes discussing the frequency and length of sessions that will suit your child best.

#4 - Therapy

Therapy sessions typically take place at your home or child’s school, depending on your preferences and availability. Usually, the first and last few minutes of the session are spent talking with you to discuss homework and your child’s progress since the last session. The therapist carefully plans activities for your child’s therapy sessions to help them move towards meeting their goals.

Your therapist will provide activities and/or strategies for working on at home with your child at the end of each session. This practice that happens in between sessions is integral to your child’s improvement. It is our job to help you work out ways for fitting this in to your family life so that your child can achieve the best outcomes.

#5 - Monitoring Progress

Our therapists check in with you regularly to discuss how your child is progressing. We’ll also review your child’s therapy plan with you in order to make modifications or set new goals. Sometimes, it can be helpful to conduct a review assessment for an objective measurement about how your child has improved. We invite you to discuss your child’s progress with us as often as you would like.

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